Beats relies heavily on celebrity endorsements when it markets its premium audio products. From music icons to athletes, some of the biggest celebrities have starred in commercials for its products. Its headphones are actually favored by many players taking part in the 2014 FIFA World Cup but due to licensing reasons the company’s headphones have been banned from stadiums. FIFA, the sport’s governing body, counts Sony as one of its biggest sponsors, which also competes with Beats in the headphones space.
Many players have been seen using Beats headphones during their downtime. For example, Brazil’s star striker Neymar was seen wearing a pair when he stepped off the bus in Fortaleza for the team’s final training session.
But due to FIFA’s licensing deal with Sony, players are not allowed to take their Beats headphones with them in World Cup stadiums, whether they’re playing an official match or attending a media event.
However, marketing experts tell Reuters that the ban will only amplify the headphones’ appeal. Since Beats isn’t an official sponsor its message might be considered as more authentic or credible, said Ellen Petry Leanse, a marketing strategist.
This isn’t the first time that Beats has outsmarted official sponsors. During the 2012 London Olympics the company sent thousands of free headphones to big athletes, including the entire British delegation and the U.S. basketball team. Panasonic was the official sponsor for that event.
Prior to the World Cup Beats released a five minute ad featuring some of the biggest names in football wearing its headphones. That ad alone has been viewed more than 10 million times. The appeal is certainly there.